Piang Luang & Return.

Discussion in 'Northern Thailand - Road Trip Reports' started by DavidFL, May 31, 2003.

  1. DavidFL

    DavidFL Administrator Staff Member

    ROUTES: 107 – 1178 – 1332 & return. (Chiang Mai – Chiang Dao – Muang Ngai – Wiang Haeng – Piang Luang.)
    Sunday 25th May 2003.
    Total distance: 335 kms return. All good asphalt roads.
    Weather: overcast, but dry and mild- cool = perfect riding conditions (and didn't we enjoy it!)

    This is an amazing 1-day ride from Chiang Mai.
    Piang Luang’s a Chinese KMT (smuggling) village right out on the Burma border.

    The main part of the ride is route 1322, which is a fantastic steep & winding roller coaster 73 kms thrill

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    through some of the best forest cover in North Thailand.

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    Chuck in a few good Lisu village en route and it really is a top day trip from Chiang Mai.

    From Chiang Mai to the route 1322 turn off is approx 88 kms, most of which are nice smooth winding undulating asphalt after Mae Taeng.

    Then once you get onto route 1322 the roads seems to soar straight up into the mountains and after just 14 kms comes to a wonderful Lisu village, Mae Cha that straddles the ridgeline. The views of the forest from here are nothing short of stupendous.

    Straight after Mae Cha the road spirals down into a valley only to immediately spring up and start a massive long steep climb that gains 1,000 metres in elevation. It’s a long climb and includes several extremely steep tight switchbacks just to remind you to keep up the concentration and your riding skills sharp. You also need to watch out for largish stones left on the road by drivers who have stopped their vehicles on the slope for a rest! There’s almost no time / chance to look at the stunning views and magnificent forest cover. I rate the forest cover as good as anything you can get on the Mae Hong Son loop, but with better panoramic views; and even the road is more spectacular, now beat that?

    Approx 25 kms out from the start of R1322 the road runs along the ridgeline at 1,200 – 1,500 metres to give fantastic panoramic views, looking back towards Doi Chang Dao, the 3rd highest mountain in North Thailand.
    Towards the end of the ridgeline is a huge Lisu village Lao Wu, after which the road plummets down 750 meters in elevation to wind up in Wiang Haeng.

    Wiang Haeng’s in a relatively wide valley, a part of the upper Mae Taeng river watershed. The scenery is real pretty, a rural paradise, but there’s not much in Wiang Haeng town – just a few shops, hospital, army camp, & a couple of tiny ghouses.

    From WH the road's undulating for 18 kms up the valley to Piang Luang & the Burma border. Piang Luang’s a quaint little Chinese KMT town, with lots of weird characters & small lanes to explore. To the actual border at Lak Taeng & the closed gate right on the border is another 3 kms, & the road’s all good asphalt all the way.

    If you take a break in any of the Lisu villages along the way, watch out for the super sweet young female Lisu shopkeepers. We got “ambushed” by one sweet talker and lingered much longer than we needed, eventually having double water, double sponsor, and double kanom. It required a deliberate effort to leave, and had we delayed any longer, it might have been time to crack open a couple of cold beers and crank up the ol karaoke machine, all in a earthen floor bamboo shack beside the road. Wonderful stuff. Life can indeed be good on the road….......

    Davidfl
    Keep the power on
     
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  3. StanGayuski

    StanGayuski Ol'Timer

    Hi Dave-
    Saw that route on the map and wondered about it - sounds real good.
    FYI Bob Sensale returned safely back to Pittsburgh the other day and phoned me and had a nice talk re the lastest there. Hopefully he will post some of his trips on the board shortly.
     

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